March, 2018
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends,

Last week my colleagues and I walked with our high school students through the touring exhibit by Doctors without Borders. We listened as some of the field workers, doctors and nurses, showed us what happens when people suddenly have to leave their homes. They explained to us why the cots had holes (cholera effects), what those packets were (nutrients for starving children), how many doses of medicine it took to cure malaria (6), how many people crammed onto the 6-person rafts (30), how many of them died in the sea last year (6,000). We saw how much daily water Americans usually use (200 gallons) and how much refugees use to survive (2 gallons).

We were stunned by photographs of the largest refugee camps (600,000 people). We saw and heard so much, and I’m certain that many of the students felt the impact as much as I did. I left and went home to plenty of food, plenty of warmth, plenty of safety, and resources to spare in case any of these become insecure.

So as the Thanksgiving feasts approach, I’d like to raise a glass at least metaphorically with all of you to say thank you for caring for our children, for worrying about them at night, for smiling at them by day, even when you’re having to flash them “the face.” For keeping them safe and secure, for showing them how to care, how to speak up, how to take care of themselves and to look out for each other. For teaching them day in and day out, the fearsome and magnificent power of words. 

Gretchen Bernabei

How can we use writing frames or writing structures without students feeling like they always have to do formulaic writing? It's easy: just think frames, not formula!
and compelling headline
Picture the Flow
When we are writing, we lay out what points we want to cover so a reader can follow the writer’s train of thought. 

Take out the Drudgery Heading
Could you read the structure above and write one sentence for each box? Anyone could. This yields what we call a “kernel essay,” or a skeleton essay. If students read their kernel essays to each other, they hear for themselves whether they have something worth developing with details. 
Give them the design control
Once students have written and shared several kernel essays, they’re ready to add additional structures to their repertoire. After a class discussion about some current event, ask them to write a kernel essay using this structure. 
Give them even more choices
We can keep feeding them fish, or we can teach them to do the fishing. Give them permission to choose a structure for any writing.

Use Student Ideas
As soon as one student asks to change the words in the boxes, you’re off and running!  

Stay balanced Heading
Teacher-assigned writing is a necessity for developing writers, but daily writing should be balanced. Let them also write for themselves sometimes. without any organization.
Click on this link to see more: Think Frames, not Formulas

Meet Mrs. Kato. She introduced her students to Grammar Keepers and raised their scores to 87% ... in one year.

Click these links to see more.

Trail of Breadcrumbs
Professional Development
Heading Here
Two Days of Writing and Grammar with Gretchen Bernabei

November 26 – 27. Austin
November 28 – 29 Richardson
Crash Course for STAAR
with Text Structures from Fairy Tales
with Gretchen Bernabei

January 22 , 2019– New Braunfels
January 23, 2019 – Richardson
January 28, 2019 – Houston
February 4, 2019 - McAllen

Andale Ya! Writing and Grammar in the Spanish with Maureen Ucles

January 29 , 2019 – McAllen
February 6 , 2019 – New Braunfels
June 11, 2019 – Richardson

Training of Trainers/Intensive Four-Day Session with Gretchen Bernabei

July 8-11, 2019 – New Braunfels
Would you like more information, resources, and updates from Gretchen and the Trail of Breadcrumbs team? Are you interested in connecting with other teachers who use Gretchen’s writing strategies in their classrooms? You’ll find all that and more on the  Trail of Breadcrumbs Facebook Page .

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